Votes in Washington and Colorado last month to legalize pot for recreational use turbocharged marijuana as a legitimate business opportunity. Business people packed a marijuana-industry conference in Denver the day after the election, and shares of publicly-traded companies spiked — one that sells marijuana vending machines jumped 3,000 percent.
Some drug policy reform leaders, fearing an official backlash, are urging a cautious, go-slow, approach: make it as easy as possible for the feds to back off and let the states do their thing. Other voices, claiming a pro-pot electoral mandate, are calling for bold, assertive moves to implement the will of the voters.
Faced with this soiled wedge between state legislation and federal law within the United States, Mexico's President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto and his advisors have already concluded there will have to be a significant change in their anti-narcotics policy. Weeding out the marijuana issue was prudently left to behind closed door discussions.
Le président du groupe de l’Istiqlal à la Chambre des Représentants, Noureddine Mediane, évoque la nécessité pour l’Etat de revoir son système répressif contre les 200.000 familles vivant du cannabis. "La culture du cannabis est toujours considérée comme un sujet tabou au Maroc. Je pense que nous devons rompre avec cet état d’esprit. D’où mon idée de lancer un débat national sur cette culture si répandue dans notre pays. Ce débat doit trancher si nous devons maintenir cette culture ou la faire disparaître définitivement."
Like a growing number of Latin American leaders, Peña, who takes office Dec. 1, says it may be time to reassess the drug war. In an interview with TIME, Peña has made his first direct remarks on the U.S. marijuana-legalization measures and how they complicate a four-decade-old drug interdiction strategy that has been widely branded a failure in both Mexico and the U.S.
The battle over the legal recreational use of marijuana heads to several more states, as officials in Colorado and Washington wait to see how the federal government will react to their new pro-pot laws. Rhode Island and Maine seem to be the next states where pro-marijuana forces will seek referendums about the legalization of recreational use. Lawmakers in both states plan to introduce bills, modeled on the laws in Colorado and Washington, to seek the legal recreational use of marijuana.
The Washington Post’s View: we favor decriminalizing possession of small amounts of pot, assessing civil fines instead of locking people up. Also, for that reason and others, the Justice Department should hold its fire on a lawsuit challenging Colorado and Washington’s decision to behave more leniently.
Marijuana is one of the primary reasons why California experienced a stunning 20 percent drop in juvenile arrests in just one year, between 2010 and 2011, according to the San Francisco-based Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice (CJCJ). The center recently released a policy briefing with an analysis of arrest data collected by the California Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Statistics Center. The briefing, “California Youth Crime Plunges to All-Time Low,” identifies a new state marijuana decriminalization law that applies to juveniles, not just adults, as the driving force behind the plummeting arrest totals.
Colorado marijuana activists, empowered after backing a successful legalization effort in the state, are in the midst of a dialogue about how far to press their success. At a recent forum, advocates talked about whether the movement should continue to step lightly in Colorado politics — being accommodating toward law enforcement and welcoming of strict regulations — or act like a political powerhouse.
Something unexpected has happened in the past five years. The condemnations of the war on drugs - of the mechanized imprisonment of much of our inner cities, of the brutal wars sustained in Latin America at our behest, of the sheer cost of prohibition, now likely past a trillion dollars - have migrated out from the left-wing cul-de-sacs that they have long inhabited and into the political Establishment.
In two weeks, adults in this state will no longer be arrested or incarcerated for something that nearly 30 million Americans did last year. For the first time since prohibition began 75 years ago, recreational marijuana use will be legal; the misery-inducing crusade to lock up thousands of ordinary people has at last been seen, by a majority of voters in this state and in Colorado, for what it is: a monumental failure. That is, unless the Obama administration steps in with an injunction ...
Juan Vaz, an Uruguayan activist and government aide who has been jailed for growing marijuana in his home, says it's time to end a contradiction that lets people in his country smoke pot but bans its sale or cultivation. The proposal formally introduced to Congress last week would create a National Cannabis Institute with the power to license people and companies to produce marijuana for recreational, medical or industrial uses.
Copenhagen mayor Frank Jensen rejects the Swedish concern about regulation of cannabis in Copenhagen. He emphasizes that the aim of the experiment is to remove the criminal gangs monopoly on the sale of marijuana. "We will eliminate a billion dollar business from organized crime. All figures show that the consumption of cannabis in Denmark has just risen and risen over the past several years, despite the fact that we have a ban in the area. Therefore, it is time to think of alternatives, and we have asked to be allowed to introduce a pilot scheme in Copenhagen."
Legalizing marijuana in B.C. could generate $2.5 billion in government tax and licensing revenues over the next five years, according to a study published this month in the International Journal of Drug Policy. The information comes after Washington state and Colorado passed measures two weeks ago approving the legalization of marijuana for adult use under a strictly regulated system.
The Dutch government is planning to classify strong strains of marijuana and cannabis as a Class A drug alongside heroin and cocaine. Coffee shops will only be able to offer cannabis with a THC level of below 15%. More details of the government's plans to drop the controversial membership scheme for coffee shops were also explained. While coffee shops will only be open to people with official documents which show they live in the Netherlands, it will be up to local authorities to decide how to introduce the new rules. (See also: Cannabis pass abolished? Not really)
In the wake of this month's marijuana legalization victories in Colorado and Washington, legislators in New England are ramping up efforts to be the next state to legalize. Representatives in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont have all signaled they will be filing legalization bills next year.
The 6 November votes in Colorado and Washington left a lot of marijuana users happy and a lot of police officers nervous. And they set the two states up for a confrontation with the federal government, as marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the US. Legalisation advocates say the recent votes mark the beginning of the end of the drug's prohibition. "It's a tipping point for sure," says Sanho Tree, director of the drug policy project at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Latin American countries are turning to Europe for lessons on fighting drugs after souring on the prohibition-style approach of the violent and costly U.S.-led war on drugs. Until recently, most Latin American countries had zero-tolerance rules on drugs inspired by the United States. But now countries from Brazil to Guatemala are exploring relaxing penalties for personal use of narcotics, following examples such as Spain and Portugal that have channeled resources to prevention rather than clogging jails.
One of the more surprising results of last week's election was the decision by voters in Colorado and Washington state to legalize marijuana for adult use. The success of both these ballot initiatives has been welcomed by many as a signal that we are about to enter a more enlightened phase in the "war on drugs", which has criminalized drug addicts and recreational drug users, as well as drug dealers. In reality, however, there is little reason to believe that any fundamental change in government policy is in the works.